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Estate Litigation

Estate litigation lawyer in Toronto & Bowmanville.

At Red Booth Law, our legal team understands that every estate litigation matter is distinct and deserves to be considered based on its own merits and individual strengths. Through close collaboration with our clients to grasp their particular requirements and objectives, our estate litigation lawyer is well-versed in legal proceedings and adept at reaching negotiated resolutions to secure a positive result for our clients.

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Challenging the Validity of a Will

Challenging a Will in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice involves a more rigorous and intricate legal process compared to standard civil lawsuits. At our Toronto (Scarborough) & Bowmanville estate law office, we comprehend the intricacies involved in contesting the legitimacy of a Will. Our legal team practicing in the area of estate law is well aware that a Will is not just a personal document, but a legally binding instrument that must conform to specific requirements as set out in the Successional Law Reform Act R.S.O. 1990, c. S.26 to be considered valid.

 

Regardless of if a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee has been issued by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, where you believe and, more importantly, are able to illustrate in great detail that the testator encountered one or all of the following:

 

  1. not complying with the formal requirements of properly executing and witnessing the testator’s Will to make it legal and binding;

  2. lack of testamentary capacity on the part of the testator;

  3. undue influence exercised against the testator;

  4. lack of knowledge and approval of the contents of a Will (also known as ‘suspicious circumstances’); or

  5. less frequent Will challenges, such as forgery, fraud or offending public policy,

 

you may have proper grounds for contesting the validity of a Will and our legal team at Red Booth Law highly recommend you contact our estate lawyer in Toronto (Scarborough) & Bowmanville at 416 953 0040 or via email as soon as possible.

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Dependant Support Claim

In most cases, a testator who is mentally competent is entitled to decide how their assets will be distributed through their Will. Nevertheless, under the Successional Law Reform Act R.S.O. 1990, c. S.26, a testator still has an obligation to continue providing for those who rely on them. In order for you to make a valid claim against the deceased's estate, you must satisfy both conditions prior to commencing a legal proceeding:

  1. you must meet the relationship status; and

  2. you must be someone to whom the deceased was providing support for or was under a legal obligation to provide support for immediately prior to the passing of the deceased.

Where you were a spouse, child, or in some cases, parent or sibling, to the deceased and believe that you were not adequately provided for within the deceased's Will, and you are able to demonstrate dependence and a duty of support you were receiving from the deceased, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice may grant you an award for support in the form of either periodic payments, lump-sum charges on a property, etc.

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Passing of Accounts

Until the personal representative of the estate is formally released of their fiduciary responsibilities, the appointed personal representative is required by law to manage and maintain detailed and precise financial records for the assets of the estate.

Also referred to as an ‘audit of accounts’ or ‘approval of accounts’, passing of accounts involves submitting detailed formal accounts to the beneficiaries and the court for review and approval. These accounts may be accepted as they are, modified by court order and approved in a revised version, or rejected if the court finds shortcomings in the accounts or any part of the estate management portrayed in the accounts.

 

If you believe that the designated estate trustee has had ample time to manage the deceased's estate but is neglecting to provide you, as an entitled beneficiary to the deceased's estate, with proper accounting, our estate litigation law office in Toronto & Bowmanville strongly advises that you correspond with our estate lawyer without any delay by calling 416 953 0040 or sending an email to info@redboothlaw.com. The estate litigation team at Red Booth Law will seek a court order from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice compelling the estate trustee to fulfill their accounting obligations.

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Accepting/Refusing Appointment of Estate Trustee

Where an individual has been designated as the estate trustee in a deceased person's Will but declines to take on the role, the responsibility should shift to the next person named as an estate trustee in the Will. However, should no other individual be designated as the estate trustee, any person may be eligible to request to be appointed as the estate trustee. Prior to any other individual being considered for the position, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice requires that the first person named in the will as estate trustee formally decline the role before the next person in line can apply and be appointed. If the initially appointed estate trustee does not refuse the role, it can lead to complications in the estate administration process.

Should you find yourself in this situation, we highly recommend you contact our estate litigation lawyer immediately at 416 953 0040 or via email at info@redboothlaw.com. Our estate litigation law firm can obtain an issued court order from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to have the named individual either accept or refuse an appointment of estate trustee. Alongside the issued court order, our estate litigation law office in Toronto & Bowmanville will also grant the named estate trustee a defined timeframe to submit their application, and further stipulate that failure to do so by a specified expiry date will result in the named individual being considered as giving up their legal right to be appointed as estate trustee.

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Removal of an Estate Trustee

Serving as Estate Trustee is a privilege that comes with a solemn responsibility to act with integrity, transparency, and diligence, always prioritizing the well-being of the beneficiaries who have been entrusted in the trustees care. Unfortunately, not all individuals serving as trustees possess the necessary competency expertise and capability to carry out these responsibilities.

Should this be the case, an interested individual can pursue legal action to have the trustee removed or replaced from their position of authority.

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Statement of Deceased Assets

Alongside a notice regarding the inventory of the estate, the expected practice is that the recently appointed estate trustee should be providing the entitled beneficiaries a comprehensive itemization of the estate assets.

Where this is not the case and you suspect that certain assets believed to be part of the estate are not being included, or if assets known to belong to the deceased during their lifetime are suddenly missing, as a beneficiary of an estate, you have the legal right to be informed of the estate inventory in a timely manner.

 

At Red Booth Law, our Toronto & Bowmanville estate litigation law firm can formally request the estate trustee to provide you, within a fixed period of time, with the proper statement of the inventory belonging to the estate. 

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Proving a Copy of a Will

Even though the original Will is unable to be located, where you have performed your due diligence and determined the deceased did indeed pass away with a Will, our estate lawyer has full competency in recognizing the proper legal procedure that is required to have the Ontario Superior Court of Justice verify a copy of the Will and subsequently obtaining a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee.

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